Omar gets clean chit in Haji Yusuf death case

In a big relief to J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, he along with his aides have been give a clean chit in the death of National Conference worker Haji Yusuf.

Srinagar: In a relief to Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, a magisterial probe into the death of National Conference worker Syed Mohammad Yousuf last year, has found that he died due to cardiovascular arrest and not because of any assault by personnel in the chief minister`s camp office or by police.

"(The) deceased on the morning of September 30, 2011, was even walking as he was seen by witnesses and going to the bathroom as well which shows that he was normal.

"Thus the allegations levelled in the media about the deceased are not based on facts, as whatever they have stated is only out of imagination or some motivation," the report said apparently referring to criticism at the time of the incident that had pointed fingers at the chief minister.

The media then had carried stories about personnel in the CM camp office could have assaulted him that could have led to the death of the National Conference worker.

"...After examining 57 witnesses and making physical examination of hospital, Crime Branch, as well as the CM`s camp office in Srinagar, I have come to the conclusion that Yousuf died due to cardiovascular arrest without any external/physical assault, force, injury or mischief upon his body or due to negligence of any authority," Additional District Magistrate Mohammad Akbar Ganaie said in his 41-page report.

The report also cleared Omar`s aides -- political advisor Devender Rana and Minister of State for Home Nasir Aslam Wani -- of all the charges in the case.

The report of the magisterial probe has come as a major relief for Omar and his aides, days after Justice H S Bedi Commission rejected a plea to cross-examine them. Justice (retired) Bedi is conducting a judicial probe into Yousuf`s death.

The state government had ordered a magisterial inquiry into Yousuf`s death on September 30, last year under Section 176 of CrPC and Ganaie was appointed the inquiry officer.

Ganaie said he submitted the report on February 2, this year but refused to discuss the contents.

"As such the cause of his death on September 30, 2011, at about 9:45 am in police hospital, Srinagar is a natural death due to heart attack and not an act of any other person from CM`s camp office or Crime Branch headquarters or from Police Hospital," Ganaie said in the report.

Ganaie said his findings were supported by the post-mortem report and other medical reports besides oral and documentary evidences available with him.

"These conclude positively to the fact that the deceased died due to myocardial infarction (heart attack)," he said.

The report states that any kind of misbehaviour or torture is a distant dream as during the stay at chief minister`s camp office, the deceased was not alone for a single minute and during that time Omar was having "various engagements with different persons from a BBC crew to heads of civil society".

"They would have found some foul (play) as the meeting hall (where the CM met Yousuf) is a small one and has adjoining waiting room where other persons wait for their turn to meet the CM.

"It is relevant that the CM was with the deceased for just 10 minutes in the presence of Muhammad Yousuf Bhat and Abdul Salam Reshi as well as Minister of State for Home Nasir Aslam Wani in a hall when there were security personnel and private persons around whose statements were recorded, but none of them has deposed about any overt or physical assault on the body of the deceased during the time he was with Omar Abdullah," the report said.